By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon motorists concerned about the safety of students walking near the Yukon High School campus have some relief coming – eventually.
The City of Yukon is eligible for federal grants to help pay for new, 10-foot-wide sidewalks along the west side of Yukon Parkway and west side of Garth Brooks Boulevard.
But construction may be about two years away.
The Yukon City Council, at its April 4 meeting, approved entering into agreements with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for construction of new “multimodal” trails on both arterial streets.
Funds from the 2023 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) will cover 80% of project costs – $608,000 for the Yukon Parkway trail and $864,000 for the Garth Brooks Boulevard trail.
The City of Yukon will be responsible for 20% local “matches” – $154,967 for Yukon Parkway and $217,609 for Garth Brooks Boulevard.
Of particular interest is the new trail on Yukon Parkway.
Plans call for this trail to start from the Stone Mill Plaza retail center (800 feet north of N.W. 10th), extend north across the front of the YHS property and then past the Ranchwood/SH-4 intersection.
Yukon residents often share concerns with city officials about youth traversing this area – particularly around the railroad tracks – where there are no sidewalks.
“We’re trying the give the students the ability to cross safer,” Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort said.
“Which is much needed,” Yukon Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton quickly added.
Meanwhile, the new Garth Brooks Boulevard trail will be on the west side from 700 feet north of Health Center Parkway to 250 feet south of the I-40 westbound ramp.
The city council voted 5-0 to follow Hort’s recommendations to approve project maintenance, financing and right-of-way agreements with ODOT for these two multimodal trails in Yukon.
This will be a long process since this trails project is being funded with federal grants through ODOT, Hort told council members.
“This is the start of the process,” he said. “We’re going to interview (to select) an engineer to design plans for the project. They’ll negotiate a contract with the state.”
Yukon’s assistant CM estimated it would be May 2024 before all plan reviews and designs are approved. After that, ODOT will hire a project contractor before construction begins.
“The timing of the project is probably two years before we even start construction on them,” Hort explained. “We’re hoping it can be quicker than that, but all the steps we have to go through kind of dictate the timelines.”
Federal grant funding is offered to municipalities like Yukon to encourage both pedestrians and bicyclists to use the wide trails/sidewalks.
OPIOID SUIT SETTLEMENTS
Also at their April 4th meeting, Yukon City Council members approved participating in settlement agreements with five companies over harm that pharmaceutical opioids have caused the City of Yukon and its citizens.
This harm was “created and exacerbated by the misconducts and illegal activities of pharmaceutical supply chain participants,” according to five separate resolutions approved by the council.
The agreements to “settle the claims of the State of Oklahoma and certain Oklahoma subdivisions” are part of a class-action lawsuit against Walgreens, Walmart, CVS, Allergan, and Teva.
Settlement amounts due to the City of Yukon have not been determined, according to City Manager Tammy Kretchmar.